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[17 Jul 2012 | | ]
[How-to] Improve N900 performance: Collection of tweaks

Want more performance and power for your N900 and give it a go at competing against today’s hardware? I’ve decided to put up a small collection of patches and tweaks that could greatly improve the performance of your N900 here.

Note: The guide assumes you know what you’re doing, as some of the tweaks might cause damage to your system, so use those at your own risk. Also, some of the packages to be installed require Extras-devel to be enabled, read on how to enable it here if you can’t find the package. Disable it right after you’ve done everything!

Applications, Featured, Headline, Reviews, Software »

[13 Jul 2012 | | ]
VLC on the N900

There aren’t many users that haven’t heard of the VLC media player. It’s free software and is highly portable, but is there an N900 port? There surely is.
Note: the port requires you to fetch all the dependencies, and it will chomp up around 45 mB of your memory. Since some of them aren’t well optified, you’d want at least 20 mB in your rootfs.
The VLC port doesn’t have a package in the official Maemo repos yet, but VideoLAN’s repo has all the packages you need. Go and add it, either via the Application Manager (Name: VLC; Address: http://downloads.videolan.org/videolan/maemo/; Distro: freemantle; Components: free), or via Xterm:
sudo gainroot
echo “deb http://downloads.videolan.org/videolan/maemo/ freemantle free” >> /etc/apt/sources.list.d/hildon-application-manager.list
After you got the repo installed, simply install VLC from the App Manager or run:
sudo gainroot
apt-get update
apt-get install vlc
After that, reboot and VLC is installed.
 
The port itself is fairly functional, although a bit unstable. I had a couple of crashes trying to open a video.
All the desktop functions are there, they work, and are put it a more tight menu, for better mobile integration. You know what to expect. The videos play smoothly as well.
And while I myself always preferred mplayer, VLC is a solid, well known player, and certainly is a nice addition to your app library.

Have a problem? A suggestion? Leave us a message on our Facebook page, leave a comment or write an email, we’ll surely try to answer you.

Applications, Featured, Headline, Reviews, Software »

[12 Jul 2012 | | ]
Plans Plant: A powerful task manager

Like to have things planned out? You’d want a good task manager, and there is a really good one available just for your N900!

Plans Plant is a really powerful task manager. It holds a wonderful task tree system, with your parent tasks, subtasks, dependencies… The tasks can hold a lot of descriptive information (if you’d like to fill it out), can hold start-finish times and the time required to accomplish the task. If you need to print out the whole sheet you can export the whole task tree into an HTML file! Numerous projects/task trees can be held as well.
The unstable release (available in Extras-Devel) features even more neat features, such as the time counter, with which you can mark the tasks as started and it will calculate the completion percentage for you. It also features task priorities, task search and sorting.
Future releases promise to have a calendar view, more informative buttons, desktop synchronization and much more!
Perhaps the only little downside to the great app I found is a rather huge and non-intuitive interface, it would take you some time to figure out which button does what, how to remove/modify tasks, but once you get the grasp of it, the app is wonderful.
Fetch the stable version off Extras, or the more feature-rich version form Extras-Devel, you won’t regret it.

Have a problem? A suggestion? Leave us a message on our Facebook page, leave a comment or write an email, we’ll surely answer you.

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[11 Jul 2012 | | ]
Pomodoro time management on the N900

Ever tried the Pomodoro time management technique? It’s an interesting technique, which uses a timer to break down the periods of your work into “pomodoros”, 25-minute intervals. You take a break after each “pomodoro” and increase the breaktime after every fouth “pomodoro”. And it’s so easy to use with the nifty app on the N900.

The Pomodoro app on the N900 has everything for the easy use of the technique. It has a nice task list, which includes task editing, allows you to start-stop tasks and shows you complete info on the process. Pomodoro also has visual and/or audio alarms (with the feature to add in your own alarm tune) and a short usage guide for those new to the technique. Complete guide and a free book can be fetched off the website.
Nicely done, and certainly applicable to jobs or studies. If you’re interested, do fetch the app off Extras right now and make sure to check out the main website as well, as it features a lot of interesting information.

Have a problem? A suggestion? Leave us a message on our Facebook page, leave a comment or write me an email.

Applications, Featured, Headline, Reviews, Software »

[6 Jul 2012 | | ]
mSoma: Soma.FM on the N900

An avid music listener? Well, chances are you like radio streams with their opportunity of finding new music to listen to. I’ve already covered a Pandora.FM client for the N900, now there’s mSoma, a client for Soma.FM, bringing you over 20 non-commercial radio channels!

Soma.FM has a handful of channels available, tuned to various genres to suit the different tastes. The music is being picked by award-winning DJs and music directors, which leads to a great pick of underground music. I didn’t listen through every channel, but those I did check out have lead me to some great artists.
The client is rather simple, but has enough features for a stream player. Everything you need is available through one window. You can update the channel list, read the channel information and, of course, stream the channel. An option to view the recently played songs is available too.
You can also point the client to a different channel feed, which might work with some other radio services. Although, I didn’t try any yet.
So, feel free to fetch the client from Extras and experience some good music!

Have a problem? A suggestion? Leave us a message on our Facebook page, leave a comment or write me an email.

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[27 Jun 2012 | | ]
Yappari: Whatsapp on the N900

Yes, all of you who’ve been asking me about Whatsapp on the N900 numerous times, you have read the title correct! The Whatsapp client was found by me during my browsing on TMO and I’m quick enough to report it to the readers.

Yappari is a growing Whatsapp client for the N900. It’s in alpha stage. So far, basic messaging and groups are supported, but with your support, the client might attain full functionality.
While I myself didn’t take the chance to try it (ethical reasons, I see no apparent licence of the client and I have to agree to Whatsapp’s TOS), I can guide you through the installation process.
Fire up your X Terminal. Make sure all the depends are installed, type in these commands:
sudo gainroot
apt-get install libqt4-core libqt4-dbus libqt4-xml wget
apt-get install libqtm-contacts libqtm-systeminfo libqtm-messaging
Fetch the .deb file from here and drop it into MyDocs (the 32gB directory). Don’t leave the terminal yet. After fetching, go back to your terminal and type in these:
cd MyDocs
dpkg -i yappari*_armel.deb
rm yappari*_armel.deb
reboot
Your phone will reboot and after that you should have a functioning client.
If you require further assistance, see the thread on TMO.

And the video how-to:

Featured, Hacks, Headline »

[25 Jun 2012 | | ]
[How-To] Using you N900 as a WiFi Hotspot

Stuck with having no internet connection nearby, but 3G via your trusty N900?  Not a problem, you can turn your N900 into a moving WiFi hotspot, which will allow you to share your 3G (or maybe GPRS, if you’re really stuck) for the wireless devices to connect. In this post we’ll go through a few ways to do this.
Note: All following methods require you to have kernel-power installed. If you don’t have it, refer to this article in order to install a stable kernel. Do know, that kernel-power is targeted at power-users and if you’re not one, you’re advised to stay away from it’s configuration. Default configs are pretty sane and you shouldn’t experience problems. 
GUI Option: QtMobileHotspot

First option is the qtMobileHotspot application. Install the package with:
sudo gainroot; apt-get install qtmobilehotspot
from your X Terminal. Launch the app and you’ll be presented with a menu as on the screenshot above. Now all you have to do is to connect to the 3G/GPRS network and press Start. If you’re confident, you may wish to fiddle around with the settings by pressing the “Wifi…” button near the top. The default password to the hotspot is thirteen zeros (000000000000) and the SSID is N900 Hotspot.
Alternatively, try the paid Joikuspot app from the Ovi Market.
CLI Option: jebba’s Script
Now, an experienced user may go at me and tell that mobilehotspot also has a CLI interface. Well, the script written by jebba and 9000 is far more simple and consumes less power, allowing you to keep your hotspot active for a longer time! Here’s how you set it up:
If you don’t have iptables and wireless-tools, install them with
sudo gainroot; apt-get install iptables wireless-tools
Download this script to MyDocs, then go to your terminal and run these commands:
cd MyDocs
sudo gainroot
cp 52NuntpC.txt /usr/bin/hotspotstart
chmod +x /usr/bin/hotspotstart
After this, run the hotspot by typing in sudo gainroot; hotspotstart into your terminal or bind it to Queen BeeCon/Desktop Command Execution widgets. Again, note that the script must be run as root.
The default SSID is honeypot and the password is also thirteen zeros. You can change them by modifying the ESSID and PASSWORD values in the beginning of the script. Make …

Emulators, Featured, Headline, Reviews, Software »

[17 Apr 2012 | | ]
UAE4ALL: Commodore Amiga on the N900

Ever had or seen an Amiga machine? Well, if you did, there’s a chance to have a nostalgic rush to the past, if you didn’t, there’s a chance for you to see how the once living Amiga machines looked like. And all that with your N900.
UAE4ALL is a Commodore Amiga emulator, which will emulate the Amiga 500. For it to work, you’ll need a Kickstart ROM. Kickstart 1.3 works best, but 2.0 runs too and is required for some 600 games (Cannon Fodder, one of my all-time favorites, would need a 2.0, for example). Unfortunately, I can’t give you an exact link for the ROM, but you sure know where to find it, right?
I tried booting with both Kickstart 1.3 and 2.0 and most of the games I tried worked quite well.
One of the things you should note: controls are not very intuitive, so check out this FAQ page, which also might answer some of the questions you might have about the emulator.
Fetch the emulator form Extras with
sudo gainroot
apt-get install uae4all
and dive into Amiga classic programs and games!

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[16 Apr 2012 | | ]
AlmostTI: the N900 as TI Scientific Calculators

Are you an engineer or an engineering student? Then a scientific calculator is a must-have for you! AlmostTI will turn your N900 into one of the Texas Instruments Sci Calcs that beat pretty much every calculator app that is available for the N900!

AlmostTI is a Texas Instruments Sci Calc emulator and a really great one! It will emulate TI73, TI82, TI83, TI83+, TI83+ SE, TI85, and TI86 (some models will require you to locate a ROM for them, as the app doesn’t include it by default) and emulate them really well, making pretty much every single function usable! Writing code, graphical calculations, anything that a real TI can do, Almost Real TI can do as well.
See for yourself, fetch the emulator from Extras with
sudo gainroot
apt-get install ati85
The only thing I found weird is the lack of documentation. It took me some time to figure out that you need to tap the top-left corner of the screen for a menu that will allow you to choose which calc to emulate. The top-right corner quits the emulator.
Totally the best calc app for the N900, and a must-have for the engineers, ATI85 is something you would really like to have on your N900. Especially since real TI-eighties don’t actually fit into a pocket.

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[11 Apr 2012 | | ]
Gargoyle: Interactive Fiction on your N900

Enjoy reading? Enjoy interactive fiction? Well, some happy news for you, in addition to Ren’Py for visual novels, with a Maemo port of Gargoyle you have tons of interactive fiction in your pocket!
For those who never heard of Gargoyle yet, it is a very advanced interactive fiction interpreter that supports many-many different formats, like z-machine (Inform), glulx, tads, agility, alan, hugo, level 9, magnetic, scare and more!
With that much formats you can play many sorts of fiction, allowing you to choose many genres and play famous games, such as the Hitchhiker’s Guide to Galaxy or Zork. For those of you in search for fiction to read (or play, if that is how you prefer to say it), you can find game archives with the help of search engines. One of the most famous archives is IFArchive, which has games for most platforms Gargoyle can handle. Just grab the file for the game and launch it either from a command line with gargoyle [gamefile] or from a graphical menu.

Gargoyle can be obtained via the Extras catalogue with:
sudo gainroot
apt-get install gargoyle
GET it, but don’t forget a light source.

Featured, Hacks, Headline »

[4 Apr 2012 | | ]
[How-to] Play music from a remote machine

Just yesterday, I was on my way home. Usually, I listen to the music while out on the street, but my audio player wasn’t with me and it’s been a while since I have uploaded any fresh music into my N900. Luckily, I had all my music on my home PC (which was conveniently running) and with an N900, I sure can access and listen to it. Want to know how? I’ll show you in this guide.

This guide assumes the machine you’re connecting to runs a *nix system (GNU/Linux, BSD, MacOS). For getting SSH up with Windows, refer to this guide by Lifehacker.
First things first, you would want to have SSH running on your machine with the music. Make sure you start it and have the SSH port unlocked on the machine.
If you are unsure how to do that, see this guide for Ubuntu, which will work for most other GNU/Linux distros with minor changes, or refer to your system’s documentation.
Obviously, you also need OpenSSH on your N900, which you can get with
sudo gainroot
apt-get install openssh
if you don’t have it already. Now, let’s look at the methods you can use to start playing music from a remote machine on your N900.
You can use MPlayer + SSH. This is a faster, but a slightly inconvenient way, for which you need MPlayer on your N900.
If you don’t have it, get it with
sudo gainroot
apt-get install mplayer
Then, you can use this command:
ssh <user>@<remote-address> “cat <full-path-to-file>” | mplayer –
Where <user> is your username on the machine, <remote-address> is your machine’s IP address and <full-path-to-file> is the full path to the file you want to play.
The inconvenience of this is that you won’t be able to play many files at once and you’ll have to use the full path to the file.
A better method is sshfs. Again, if you don’t have sshfs, grab it with
sudo gainroot
apt-get install sshfs
Create a directory, which you’ll use (as root):
mkdir /home/user/Home-PC
Finally, mount your machine’s filesystem on that directory with sshfs:
sshfs <user>@<remote-address>: /home/user/Home-PC
There, you can now access the whole home directory of your home PC via /home/user/Home-PC and that means (besides other files) you can …

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[9 Mar 2012 | | ]
[How-To] Record call durations

Note: this how-to is aimed at advanced users. Messing something up may harm your device, everything is done at your own risk.
Want to keep record of all your call durations? Well, while the functionality is not included by default, there’s a hack that can help you out. All we need to do is to patch the SQL database.
Note: You don’t need to be root for following the guide.
Open up your X Terminal and cd into a folder we need:
cd /home/user/.rtcom-eventlogger
Make a backup of your original database file, just to be sure:
cp -a el-v1.db el-v1.db.backup
Download the patch (you’ll need wget, if you don’t have it, install it with sudo gainroot; apt-get install wget):
wget ‘http://talk.maemo.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=10495&amp;d=1275242093′ -O triggers.txt
Apply the patch:
sqlite3 -batch /home/user/.rtcom-eventlogger/el-v1.db < triggers.txt
Finally, install Extended Call Log from Extras:
sudo gainroot
apt-get install extcalllog 
You’re finished! Now the call durations will start recording. Please note that it will just start, so you’ll need to go through a couple of calls before you can see the durations.

Enjoy!

Thanks to kovach from TMO for the patch.

Applications, Featured, Headline, Reviews, Software »

[5 Mar 2012 | | ]
PhoneME: J2ME Apps much faster

Ever since J2ME have spawned, it has been widely used by pretty much any mobile platform. However, J2ME support on the N900 is rather lacking, which has become a problem, but not an unsolvable one. Some of you may have heard of MicroEmu, but as it is written on Java (SE version) itself, it is very RAM consuming, making apps slower. PhoneME is an alternative written in C, and while it is still in testing, a rather good one.

Since the emulator is still in testing, the most progressive version can be fetched through this link. Get the file and open it with your App Manager. Alternatively, do it faster via the command line:
sudo gainroot
dpkg -i cvm*.deb

After installation you will have several new items in the menu:
Run Midlet will run a specified .jar file. You can also use it through a command line:
/opt/phoneme/bin/runmidlet <path_to_jar_file>
Midlet Settings will, obviously, open up a settings menu, where you can customize a few things, like fullscreen launching or portrait mode.
Finally, there’s a preinstalled Opera Mini and Microemu-demo for testing using/testing purposes.
Well, I should definitely say that the performance of the apps is very, very good. Opera Mini starts up in seconds, unlike it did in MicroEmu and works very well, you can as well use it as an alternative browser.
Some other apps I’ve tried work just as well: sounds, network etc. are all functional.

A few downsides include the inability to handle .jad files well and some sound glitches, but that can be forgiven, given that the emulator is still in development.
So go and get it, it’ll be worth it.
 

Thanks to Salut Ct for yet another good suggestion. Have your own suggestions? Please leave them in the comments, we’ll definitely look into them and give you credit!

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[28 Feb 2012 | | ]
[How-To] Making video screencasts on the N900

If you’ve been using the N900 for a while, perhaps you have been thinking on “how can I record my screen?”. Well, today we’ll show you how.
First of all, fetch a .deb package you will need for recording to your N900, put it anywhere.  You may, of course, use wget to ease the process:
wget http://sumoudou.org/n900/load-applet-ximagesrc_0.4.4-2_armel.deb
Next, install the package:
sudo gainroot
dpkg -i load-applet-ximagesrc*.deb
And install the missing dependencies:
apt-get -f install
There, now you have a little panel on your N900 that will allow you to record your screen (and make screenshots, if you’re not comfortable with Ctrl-Shift-P):

When you press the button that I showed above and exit the statusbar menu, recording will start and you can now make videos, like this one I made. When you press the button again recording will stop. And yes, it will also record sound from the microphone, however the audio input is rather sensitive and will capture screentapping sounds and keyboard, so you might want to mute the sound, like I did. You will find your video in your Videos folder (~/MyDocs/.videos). By pressing the camera button to the right you can take screenshots, tap it and press the camera button (on the top of your N900) to take a screenshot which will land in your images directory.
Enjoy your new screencasting experience!
 

Thanks to ShiroiKuma for putting up the package together.

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[24 Feb 2012 | | ]
[How-To] Using your desktop via N900 with PresenceVNC

Ever wanted to control your desktop computer right from your N900’s screen? This post will show you how to do that using PresenceVNC.
This guide is for *nix (GNU/Linux, BSD, Solaris, MacOS) users. Windows users can look up a guide on setting up VNC online and try the same, by connecting to their PC directly, however, without ssh this will be much less secure.
First of all, fetch PresenceVNC from your N900:
sudo gainroot
sudo apt-get install presencevnc
Get openssh too, if you don’t have it:
apt-get install openssh
Now, on your PC you’ll need to generate an SSH key (again, if you don’t have it yet):
ssh-keygen -t dsa
This will create a file ~/.ssh/id_dsa.pub
You will have to drop this file into the same directory from your PC to the N900, you can use file sharing sites, USB, ssh, whatever you want for that.
Verify that you have the SSH server running on your PC, try to SSH into it:
ssh <user>@<ip_address>
Repalce <user> with your username on the PC and <ip_address> with your PC’s IP address. If you don’t know it, use sites like this one. If your PC and the N900 are connected to the same network, you can usually try the local address, 192.168.1.33 or 192.168.1.34. It should ask you to verify the key (type ‘yes’) and your PC’s password. IF it doesn’t then it’s likely your 22nd port is closed, use tools like iptables or Firestarter to open it.
You will also need x11vnc to start the server, look it up in your distro’s repositories.
Once that is set up, open up your N900’s terminal and connect to your PC with the following command:

ssh -C -L 5900:localhost:5900 <user>@<ip_address>
And start the server (yes, right from your N900)
x11vnc -ncache 10 -display :0
Now, just open up PresenceVNC (don’t quit the terminal!) and connect to localhost:0 Watch in amazement as your PC is fully controlled through your N900.
On the screenshot below you can see IceCat opened on my ArchLinux desktop’s StumpWM:

Enjoy!